Light Artist

The glittering lights of city life can paint some fascinating images. At night, photographers are confronted by numerous fantastic subjects, but also some daunting technical challenges. Vijay Raghavan from India shares a few pictures he took early morning and late at night with the high-speed Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2.

Planar T* 1,4/85 (ISO 800, 1/640 Sec., F/1.4, 85mm)
Relaxing at Charminar market in Hyderabad, India. Taken in October 2012 at around 8:30 pm with the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2

With all the other fruit stalls at the Charminar market, a well-known landmark in Hyderabad, already closed and cleaned up, this vendor takes a short break. Vijay Raghavan has expertly captured this moment of calm amid the hectic daily competition on the market. “I used a high aperture so I could isolate the man from the background and use the lights for a soft bokeh.  For me, it was important not to jeopardize his natural pose. That is the reason I decided not to get closer to take the shot. I wanted to reduce the busy clutter of the surroundings to a minimum.”

Planar T* 1,4/85 (ISO 200, 1/500 Sec., F/1.8, 85mm)
Sunset in Hyderabad, India, at around 6 pm, January 2011.

For this picture Vijay wanted to test the flare performance of the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2. He chose the position of the sun in such a way that the bottom half of the image has a nice silhouette, which gives the picture a certain tranquility. “The light was very challenging, but thanks to the excellent features of this ZEISS lens there was no flare, no chromatic aberrations and no ghosting from the sun – not even in the areas with a high color contrast."

Planar T* 1,4/85 (ISO 800, 1/8000 Sec., F/1.8, 85mm)
The rock band Schrodinger’s Cat – taken with the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2 during a concert in Hyderabad, India.

The rock band Schrodinger’s Cat performed one evening where Vijay works. This shot was challenging because the stage lights illuminated the singers from behind and there was no other artificial light available. “Despite the tricky lighting conditions, the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2 enabled me to create a photograph that shows just enough light on the singer’s face.”

Planar T* 1,4/85 (ISO 400, 1/30 Sec., F/2.2, 85mm)
“On the road to perdition” – taken at night with the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2 on January 24, 2012 in Gachibowli, Hyderabad.

Vijay took this impromptu picture while filming a short movie. Three of the main characters were hanging out at a local bar. When Vijay shot the scene, one of the actors reached out to grab a beer bottle at the end of a table. It is an image with symbolic power.  “I wanted to depict the way a man can lose his dignity and character if he yields to alcohol.” The shot was taken outside at night. The lights of the bar provided little light, but by using a wide-open aperture Vijay was able to create the nice blurred dots of light in the background. Here, Vijay succeeds in giving the blur its own special aesthetic quality.

Planar T* 1,4/85 (ISO 200, 1/500 Sec., F/1.4, 85mm, -0,7 EV)
“Mom and me”. Taken with the Planar T* 1,4/85 ZF.2 in January 2011.

A touching moment between a mother and her baby girl. This image was shot a few days after Vijay acquired his Planar T* 1,4/85. He took advantage of the warm morning light that day to experiment with his new lens. All of a sudden, his daughter began to giggle and play with her mother. Vijay was lucky to capture the moment just in time. The light shone through the window and reflected on the face and torso of his wife. “In this image I tried to create the best possible result with as little light as possible.”

Vijay Raghavan cannot imagine photographing anymore without the high-speed Planar T* 1,4/85 portrait lens. “Its performance, even with little light, is unbeatable. Other features I like about this lens are its buttery-smooth bokeh and excellent imaging quality. I also like the precise focusing with the comfortable focus ring and the fact that subjects can be easily isolated from their surroundings.”


About Vijay Raghavan:

Vijay Raghavan is a computer science graduate and has been working in the IT services industry for over seven years. He hails from India, the country of myriad colors, and loves to unwind through photography and travel. He discovered his passion for pictures and the emotions they carry while he was still a child and dreamt of one day making it a career. Vijay loves to capture fulfilling and nostalgic moments, which are often reflected in his portraiture, macro or travel photography. Sharing his experiences with other photographers on the Web and building his online community of contacts has given him a broader perspective and more exposure.



Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Hi Ray,

    Glad you liked my work. It means a lot to me. I draw my inspiration from people with whom i interact either online or in focused groups like we have at our work place. Needless to say, all these wouldn't be possible with out the support of my family to whom i owe this entire credit and to my beloved friends/mentors who are supreme critics of my work. :)

    Rajani/Vineela/Ujjal - Thanks Guys.

  2. Nandini

    Great selection of photos. Truly, a picture tells a thousand words. Liked the story around each photo. Congratulations on being featured! :)

  3. Venky

    Gr8 job Vijay. Stunning pics captured, kudos to all the good work and its payback time now :). Cheers and proud to be one of your good pals :) ...

  4. Thambi From Chennai

    Hello Bro,

    First of all CONGRATS .

    Hoping to see more of these along with the Pictures and the tiny little stories around them.

    Strive for betterment.

  5. Chaz

    Your work is very impressive. Indeed I look forward to rediscovering the world through your lenses' point of view. Congratulations Vijay on being featured on the Carl Zeiss blog.

  6. MHS Babu

    Great pix - especiallly the last one on mom n child. Preserve it and show it to your daughter 20 years later, to watch her reaction!

  7. Kalyanram

    Hard work pays OFF And you have proved it. Hope your dream path is set now. Wish you all the best!!!!!

    1. ZEISS Camera Lenses

      Hi Charles,
      We already answered your private message on Facebook.
      Best regards,
      Your ZEISS Lenses Team


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>